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Jason D. Averill (Fed)

Deputy Director

Jason D. Averill is the Deputy Director of the Engineering Laboratory (EL) at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). EL promotes U.S. innovation and industrial competitiveness by advancing measurement science, standards, and technology for engineered systems in ways that enhance economic security and improve quality of life and carries out mission-related activities in fire prevention and control; national earthquake hazards reduction; national windstorm impact reduction; National Construction Safety Teams; building materials and structures; engineering and manufacturing materials, products, processes, equipment, technical data, and standards; manufacturing enterprise integration; collaborative manufacturing research pilot grants; and manufacturing fellowships.  EL also conducts applied research in systems integration and engineering; intelligent systems and control; robotics and automation; sustainability and energy efficiency; economic analysis and life cycle assessment; productivity measurement; and safety and environmental performance.  

Since joining EL in 1997, Mr. Averill has published over 70 papers on assessment of hazards to building occupants. Key research areas include movement of people, emergency preparedness, effectiveness of building systems and technologies, and emergency response. Mr. Averill has assessed fire safety for passenger rail cars, characterized material toxicity in large and bench scale experiments, characterized the effect of firefighting resources, and evaluated smoke detection technologies in residential housing.

Mr. Averill was leader of the Engineered Fire Safety Group in the Fire Research Division from 2009 to 2012.  From 2012 to 2013, he was detailed to the NIST Program Coordination Office, where he provided technical and policy advice to NIST leadership.   From 2013 to 2022, Mr. Averill was the Chief of the Materials and Structural Systems Division (MSSD) in the Engineering Laboratory.  The MSSD included four groups: the Infrastructure Materials Group, Structures Group, Earthquake Engineering Group, and the Community Resilience Group. The division is also responsible for managing three statutory programs, including the National Earthquake Hazard Reduction Program (for which NIST is the lead agency), the National Windstorm Impact Reduction Program (for which NIST is the lead agency), and the National Construction Safety Team Program.   From 2022 to 2023, Mr. Averill was detailed to the National Security Council as the Director for Critical Infrastructure in the Resilience Response Directorate.  

Mr. Averill is currently an advisor to the Natural Hazards Center at the University of Colorado, Boulder.  He is a member of the American Society of Civil Engineers, was appointed to two terms on the International Code Council's Means of Egress Committee, has served on the NFPA Life Safety Code Committee (Means of Egress), and was a member of the ASME A17 Task Group developing guidelines for Occupant and Firefighter Use of Elevators During Fire Emergencies.  



2016: U.S. Department of Commerce Bronze Medal for Superior Federal Service "for development, analysis, and dissemination of a building evacuation database to improve occupant safety during fire incidents."

2014: "President's Award" from the International Association of Fire Chiefs for "leadership and contributions to science-based firefighting tactics and strategies."

2011: U.S. Department of Commerce Silver Medal "for characterizing the deployment of firefighting resources to the residential fireground in order to enable fire departments and city/county managers to make sound decisions regarding optimal resource allocation."

2005: U.S. Department of Commerce Gold Medal Award for Distinguished Achievement in the Federal Service for his work as leader of the Occupant Egress, Human Behavior, and Emergency Communication in the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001 project in the Federal Investigation of the Collapse of the World Trade Center Buildings.

2004: U.S. Department of Commerce Bronze Medal Award for Superior Federal Service "for research into the characterization of the performance of home smoke alarms."


Workshop on Incorporating Climate Change Data in U.S. Building Codes and Standards

Jason D. Averill, Therese P. McAllister, Andrew K. Persily, Scott Weaver, James Whetstone, Jiann C. Yang, Michael Kuperberg, Sumant Nigam, Alfredo Ruiz-Barradas
NIST hosted a workshop to advance the availability of climate information sought by organizations developing standards, model building codes, and voluntary

Recent Developments in Building Fire Detection Technologies

William L. Grosshandler, Jason D. Averill, Thomas Cleary, D W. Weinert
Sensing technologies and their application to detecting fires in buildings continue to evolve, and recent advances are summarized in this article. Work being
Created May 11, 2019, Updated November 6, 2023